January 20, 2022

Coronavirus briefs 5/7

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Number of virus cases in Cortland County rises

Cortland County reported on Wednesday its first case of COVID since mid-April, bringing to 33 the number of coronavirus cases.

In total, three people have died in Cayuga, Tompkins and Cortland counties.

The Cortland County Health Department was monitoring six patients; none is hospitalized, although six have been. The Cortland County Health Department has received 1,232 negative test results from health care providers. Thirty-two people have recovered.

Tompkins County reported no new cases Tuesday, remaining at 129 confirmed cases among 3,999 tested people, the state Department of Health reported. The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported the same. Two people have died, although neither was a Tompkins resident, state data show.

The Cayuga County Health Department reported one new case Wednesday, raising the number to 54. One person has died; none are hospitalized. Another 29 are quarantined and three are in isolation. It awaits test results on 21 people of 1,104 people tested.

Cortland County auto dealerships can reopen

Cortland County auto dealerships were allowed to reopen Wednesday, following a number of restrictions on cleaning protocols, social distancing and other safety measures, the county announced.

Buyers will need to wear face masks, as must employees who deal with the public. Dealers must sanitize vehicles before and after customers enter them and vehicles may only be accessed or test-driven upon request. Vehicles must remain locked on the lot. Dealers should consider scheduling “high-risk “customers for a specific day or time of day, the county advises.

Employees must be evaluated upon arriving at work and have their temperature taken, and maintain 6-foot social distancing. Furniture and cars in showrooms and public areas must be removed or arranged to allow for social distancing.

Tompkins County votes to lay off 96 employees

The Tompkins County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday to lay off 96 county employees from Saturday until July 31 to ease the pain of an expected $11 million to $18 million shortfall in income because of a coronavirus inspired recession.

The resolution followed a mid-year budget review by County Administrator Jason Molino, which also suggested a hiring freeze, reducing capital program, agency contracts and the furloughs.

In addition to enhanced unemployment benefits available, laid-off county employees will keep their health insurance, and the county will continue to pay the employer share.

Seward calls for audit of unemployment delays

State Sen. James L. Seward (R-Milford) joined Sen. Joseph A. Griffo (R–Rome), and Assembly Members Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica), and Mark Walczyk (R-Watertown) to call Wednesday for an audit of the state Labor Department’s handling of unemployment benefit applications during the coronavirus pandemic.

“At a time when individuals and families need the state to come through for them they are instead left hurting and in the dark,” Seward said. “Many people have been waiting weeks, even months, for essential unemployment benefits to feed their families and maintain some semblance of a normal life.”